If you’ve just gone through the end of a relationship, the process of letting go and moving on can be extremely difficult. For some people, the end of a relationship feels natural, while for others, the experience is heart-wrenchingly painful.
Often, the pain comes from not being ready to let go of someone. However, the other person has different feelings and would like to make a change in their life.
If you are struggling to figure out how to get over someone you love, you will find helpful advice in this article. Knowing how to get over someone you love doesn’t always come easy.
Letting go of people and moving on from relationships is one of the most emotionally challenging parts of being human, but it’s completely natural, and you will survive.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breather and understand that by reading this article, you’re already on the right track.
It’s easy to get lost in the throes of our emotions, especially heartbreak, but if you’re actively searching for tips and advice on how to move through the process, you’ve come to the right place.
Friends and family who have gone through what you’re going through now will be able to share what worked for them, which can be incredibly helpful.
However, if you want to get over someone you love, the journey needs to be uniquely yours. The process of getting over someone presents deeply personal challenges that, once overcome, can serve as highly valuable lessons for future relationships and life in general.
Sometimes it’s reading articles, sometimes it’s reaching out to friends or family for support, and sometimes it’s simply taking some time for yourself. However it happens, getting over someone is entirely possible.
They might always have a place in your heart, but if they have made a decision not to be with you, that’s the reality, and it needs to be accepted. Once you learn to accept your loss, the process of getting over it becomes a lot easier.
Below you will find some tried and true tips and advice on getting over someone you love.
Tips and advice on how to get over someone you love:
1. Practice mindfulness
We’re rarely as vulnerable as we are post-breakup. Being with someone romantically feels amazing – we get love, affection, and emotional security (most of the time). The breakup can impact us in such a way that we feel shocked at the loss of that love, affection, and security.
On a deeper level, we might believe that just because the person in question does not want to be with us anymore, we are now unworthy of those things.
It might seem silly or far-fetched, but the mind is a powerful storyteller, and if we’re in emotional pain, it tends to dig for reasons why we found ourselves in that situation. Sometimes these reasons involve harsh criticism of our self, which is an attempt to rationalize what happened.
Mindfulness meditation can help you pay close attention to the stories that your mind is telling you. You might start thinking about your past failed relationships and jump to the conclusion that all your relationships are doomed to fail. Do you think such thoughts are helpful?
Of course not. Still, they can be pervasive and intrusive and make it so much harder to heal our wounded heart. We often know that these thoughts are unhelpful, but they seem so powerful.
It’s normal to want to fight or suppress your negative self-thoughts, but you may already know that suppressing thoughts usually gives them more power.
When you practice mindfulness, you learn not to fight or suppress your thoughts but instead recognize them, accept them, and not identify with them. In mindfulness practice, you learn to be with your emotions as they are, to stop believing all of your thoughts, and to focus more on gratitude and positivity than regret and negativity.
How to use mindfulness to get over someone you love
It may be tempting to cope with your lost love by binging on sugary snacks, staying up all night watching sad movies, or drinking too much alcohol, but these are maladaptive coping strategies.
It’s okay to enjoy your favorite comfort food once in a while, help yourself cry with a movie or sad song, or to go to the bar with your friends, but you need to be mindful of how your coping strategies will serve you in the long-term.
Pay attention to your inner voice
Don’t believe all your thoughts. When you go through a breakup, your mind might become awash with thoughts of regret, self-criticism, and blame. You might have negative beliefs about the future, such as ‘I’ll always end up alone’ or ‘Nobody will understand me like they did.’
Instead of allowing these thoughts to take over and dampen your day, take a moment to challenge them. Our thoughts can seem to have a lot of power, but it may surprise you to see how little power they really have when you stop giving it to them.
Examine the facts, and see where the relationship may not have been as perfect as you once believed. We often amplify the positive parts of a past relationship in our minds and forget about the negatives.
Bring closer attention and examination to how the relationship made you feel on a deeper level. Were there things that bothered you? Were there moments that indicated that the two fo you were not suitable for each other? Bringing your attention to the facts can help you deeply process the breakup and move on sooner.
Allow your emotions to flow
It’s essential to let out all of your emotions when a relationship has ended. Some people try to put on a brave face and hold it all in, but bottling up your emotions does more harm than good. If you’re angry and don’t let it out, it may soon turn to sadness and even depression.
If you want to bawl your eyes out, do it. Crying is a perfectly natural response to things that upset you, so if you want to have a big cry, don’t let anything stop you. You’ll probably even feel a little better afterwards.
Heartache is genuine pain and can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms if you don’t fully process it. Some studies even show through fMRI scans that the brain during intense heartbreak resembles that of a brain undergoing drug withdrawal.
Do not underestimate the power of heartache. It calls for loving and compassionate attention and is by no means healed by suppressing your emotions.
Learning to be with your emotions and practicing acceptance is one example of a healthy coping mechanism you can use when you’re struggling to get over someone. Relationship loss sometimes creates a perceived loss of one’s own agency.
By sitting with and accepting yourself and all of your unfiltered, raw emotions, you can regain a strong sense of yourself and what your deepest beliefs and values really are.
It’s easy to ruminate over what went wrong after a breakup with someone you loved. You might mourn for the loss of the relationship and begin to view life through a negative lens.
However, making even a tiny effort to shift your focus away from the negatives and more towards a positive, which include cultivating a grateful mindset can make you feel a lot better.
Gratitude lies at the core of any mindfulness practice, and there is extensive scientific research to prove that it’s good for you. According to several studies, gratitude has the power to improve your mood, reduce the symptoms of depression, decrease anxiety, and boost your physical and mental health.
2. Give yourself time to heal
“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” – Kahlil Gibran.
Nobody’s healing journey is the same. Some people move on quickly, while for others, the process can take years. However long it takes to get over the person you love is okay. If you pressure yourself to move on too quickly, you’ll likely make the situation worse.
Let go of guilt or shame if it’s been a while since you’ve been able to move on and remember that there’s no time limit on your healing journey.
3. Cut ties
Once the relationship is over, take some distance from that person. Try not to keep calling or texting them or going where you know they’ll be with the hope that you might see them.
If you really want to get over someone, you need to put some healthy distance between the two of you.
This is easier said than done, especially if the person is a coworker or a classmate. If being around the person is outside of your control, you can still limit your interactions.
Try not to make a big deal about avoiding them, but limit your interactions only to absolutely necessary ones. Eventually, it will become easier to share space and even make small talk, but for now, give yourself some space and time to forget about them.
Don’t stalk them on social media
You might be tempted to keep checking their social media pages to see what they’re up to and who they’re hanging out with, but doing so is a sure-fire way to make yourself feel worse.
You might see them on social media hanging out with their friends having a good time without you, or even on a date with someone else. If you fixate on what the other person is doing with their life, it will be much harder to move on with your own.
If the temptation to check their social media is too strong to resist, consider unfriending, unfollowing, or blocking them. It might seem rude, but if it’s going to help you move on, it’s worth it.
Avoid intimacy with the person
It’s not uncommon for ex-partners to be physically or emotionally intimate post-break-up. It might be familiar, comfortable, and even convenient, but it’s not a good idea to continue being intimate with someone you love if they don’t want to be with you anymore.
It might seem nice now, but once that intimacy is finally over, you’ll have to go through the grieving process all over again. The negative emotions you thought you processed may come back even stronger if you hinder your progress by going back in time.
Get rid of reminders
To really get over someone, it’s important to get rid of reminders of the relationship. Eventually, you can remember the good times.
However, if you hold onto reminders now, such as pictures, clothes they left behind, or other possessions, you’re only going to prolong your thoughts and feelings about the end of the relationship.
Lost love is hard enough to deal with without having constant reminders of the person in your environment. Looking at pictures or looking at things of theirs around the house can make you feel like the person is still there when in reality they’re not. The relationship ended, so it’s time to stop clinging to it.
Getting rid of reminders about the person you loved is an act of self-care. If you want to forget about the pain and anger and fully accept that it’s time to move on, do yourself a favor and clear out the reminders of that person. It might be hard at first, but it’s an important step to take if you want to feel better.
4. Reach out to friends for support
Breakups and heartbreak can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Though the wound eventually heals, it can cause a lot of pain in the early days of a breakup. Some people feel an incredible amount of pain that seems like it’s never going to go away.
The danger with this pain is that, combined with loneliness and isolation, it can actually damage our health. Our mental health might suffer if we don’t feel like we have enough love and support to get us through.
Reach out to friends or family members to help you get out your emotions. Though they can’t fix everything for you, they may be able to offer a compassionate ear and let you vent, which can work wonders for your emotional well-being.
Be mindful of who you speak to about the issue. It’s wise to talk to people who have been through heartbreak but recovered successfully.
It may be less helpful to speak to someone whose views on the matter make things worse, such as someone who will exacerbate the negative feelings you might be having towards your former partner.
Spend time with your friends in fun situations. It’s okay if you want to sit and chat about what happened and even have a cry or just sit in silence with someone.
However, it’s also essential to get on with other parts of your life. Consider doing something fun that you’d usually do with your friends, such as going to movies, going for a drive, or playing sports.
5. Limit your wallowing
When you are trying to get over the person you love, it’s okay to let yourself sit and wallow for a while. Still, there comes a time when you stop wallowing and start the process of moving on.
It’s unhealthy to let a failed relationship prevent you from actively engaging and enjoying other areas of your life. Let yourself wallow for as long as you need, but understand then that it has become unproductive.
6. Understand the stages of relationship grief
We often use the term ‘grief’ when referring to the death of a loved one, but it also applies to the loss of a relationship. American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has done extensive work on the subject of grief.
Her work with terminally ill people paved the way for the five stages of grief and loss, also known as the Kubler-Ross model, a conceptualization of the stages of loss first published in her book ‘On Death and Dying‘.
According to Kubler-Ross, there are five distinct stages we go through when trying to process loss. They include:
The five stages are not exclusive to the death of a loved one. They can be applied to other types of loss, such as losing a job, a relationship, good health, and many other circumstances that knock us over and leave us feeling lost and confused. Let’s take a closer look at each stage of Kubler-Ross’s grief model.
Typically, our first response to loss is denial. By denying that the event happened, we give ourselves a little bit of time to cope and get ready to mourn for our loss.
Denial is functional in that it helps us survive by keeping the psyche in one piece in the face of an overwhelming situation.
However, we must eventually move out of denial and towards the final stage of grief – acceptance – if we want to maintain our mental health.
Examples of denial when a relationship ends include:
- ‘They’ll come back to me.’
- ‘We’ll get back together soon.’
- ‘They’ll change their mind.’
After denial usually comes anger. Most of us are uncomfortable with anger because it is sometimes shunned. We suppress it to save face or please others – something we typically learn in childhood.
However, anger is an entirely valid emotion and deserves some space. If we don’t allow it, it takes on the guise of other emotions, such as sadness and emotional pain.
Anger in this stage of the post-breakup is usually directed at the former partner. It can temporarily serve as a means of empowerment and a newfound sense of control.
Anger is not always obvious. We might imagine it to be a violent or aggressive outburst, even rage, but it can also manifest as resentment, silent treatment, and bitterness towards others.
Examples of post-breakup anger include:
- ‘I hate them for doing this to me.’
- ‘This happened because of that friend of theirs.’
- ‘I’m going to show them what they did wrong by yelling at them.’
The third of the five stages is bargaining. We start believing that ‘if only’ or ‘what if we did something to fix or change the situation to put things back to the way they used to be’.
Lost love can make us feel guilty, ashamed, guilty, lost, and vulnerable, so naturally, we want to regain a sense of control. We believe that we can strike a deal with the world and are willing to go to great lengths to see that deal through.
Examples of post break up bargaining include:
- ‘If I had been more loving or attentive, they wouldn’t have left me.’
- ‘What if I can show them that I can change?’
Once we learn that bargaining doesn’t, we may enter a depression. This stage of grief can be mild for some but more severe for others. Depression is characterized by feelings of intense sadness, numbness, a feeling of emptiness, confusion, and a lack of motivation.
It’s important to note that depression is also a mental health condition and is a symptom of many disorders, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re experiencing depression after a loss that you have a mental health issue. Depression is a normal reaction to a significant loss.
However, if your depression feels like more than just a stage of grief because it is persistent and getting in the way of your life, it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional.
Depression can be extremely difficult to handle. It reaches down to our core and might provoke previous unprocessed feelings of sadness and despair that we had thus far been able to suppress or ignore.
Examples of post-breakup depressive thoughts include:
- ‘What am I even doing with my life?’
- ‘Nobody will ever love me again.’
- ‘What’s the point?’
The final stage of grief is acceptance. Acceptance does not mean that you’re happy about what happened – it means that you understand that whatever happened is reality, and you’re not going to deny it or fight it any longer.
“Acceptance is not about liking a situation,” explains Kubler-Ross. “It is about acknowledging all that has been lost and learning to live with that loss.”
Acceptance is also about allowing the new normal to take place. We learn to live with what happened and not let it get in the way of our lives. Initially, it’s hard to accept the reality of the situation, but over time we learn that there is nothing we can do to turn back the clock, so we might as well make the best of our current situation.
Acceptance does not necessarily mean that you’re “okay” with the end of the relationship, nor does it mean that you’ve completely moved on from the grief. It’s important to know that some people never feel entirely “okay” about the end of a relationship.
Acceptance also means that we let ourselves have good days and bad days. All of our emotions are valid, and when we accept that, we don’t resist the waves of sadness that may come every now and again when we remember what we lost.
7. Speak to a therapist
If your struggle to get over someone you love is getting in the way of your happiness, making you feel depressed, and is harming your physical, mental, and emotional health, it may help to speak to a therapist.
When relationships end or our current circumstances mean that we can’t be with the person we love, we might feel a deep sense of loss, pain, and become emotionally overwhelmed.
Though these feelings are natural, at times, they can feel like too much to handle. Some people engage in unhealthy coping behaviors to deal with lost love, such as drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, or social withdrawal.
These are all health-risk behaviors and may lead us into a much worse situation than we were in when we were only dealing with the loss.
How can a therapist help you get over someone?
A therapist can help you address any maladaptive beliefs and negative thoughts about yourself to prevent your mental health from deteriorating following the loss of someone you love.
They can address the root causes of your pain and help you replace negative thinking with a more positive, growth-oriented outlook.
The Bottom Line
Though the end of a relationship or the loss of someone you love can be heart-breaking, the good news is that you can and will recover.
It might seem impossible now, but with time, acceptance, and self-compassion, you can trust that the pain you’re feeling now will eventually start to fade. You might never forget that person, but you don’t have to be miserable for the rest of your life because they’re gone.
With the right support, outlook, and consistent effort and investment in yourself, you will eventually start to feel like yourself again. Remember, all things must come to an end. The more we can bring acceptance and understanding to the fact, the happier we will be.